Reinventing Paul
Reinventing Paul   -     By: John G. Gager
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Oxford University Press / 2002 / Paperback
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Reinventing Paul

Oxford University Press / 2002 / Paperback

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Stock No: WW150856


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Product Description

Throughout the Christian era, Paul has stood at the center of controversy, accused of being the father of Christian anti-Semitism. In this highly accessible book, John Gager challenges this entrenched view of Paul, arguing persuasively that Paul's words have been taken out of their original context, distorted, and generally misconstrued. Using Paul's own writings, Gager brilliantly sets forth a controversial interpretation of the apostle's teaching as he takes us in search of the "real" Paul. Through an exhaustive analysis of Paul's letters to the Galatians and the Romans, he provides illuminating answers to the key questions: Did Paul repudiate the Law of Moses? Did he believe that Jews had been rejected by God and replaced as His chosen people by Gentiles? Did he consider circumcision to be necessary for salvation? And did he expect Jews to find salvation through Jesus? Gager tells us that Paul was an apostle to the Gentiles, not the Jews. His most vehement arguments were directed not against Judaism but against competing apostles in the Jesus movement who demanded that Gentiles be circumcised and conform to Jewish law in order to be saved. Moreover, Paul relied on rhetorical devices that were familiar to his intended audience but opaque to later readers of the letters. As a result, his message has been misunderstood by succeeding generations.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 208
Vendor: Oxford University Press
Publication Date: 2002
Dimensions: 8 X 5.25 (inches)
ISBN: 0195150856
ISBN-13: 9780195150858

Publisher's Description

Throughout the Christian era, Paul has stood at the center of controversy, accused of being the father of Christian anti-Semitism. In this highly accessible book, John Gager challenges this entrenched view of Paul, arguing persuasively that Paul's words have been taken out of their original context, distorted, and generally misconstrued.

Using Paul's own writings, Gager brilliantly sets forth a controversial interpretation of the apostle's teaching as he takes us in search of the "real" Paul. Through an exhaustive analysis of Paul's letters to the Galatians and the Romans, he provides illuminating answers to the key questions: Did Paul repudiate the Law of Moses? Did he believe that Jews had been rejected by God and replaced as His chosen people by Gentiles? Did he consider circumcision to be necessary for salvation? And did he expect Jews to find salvation through Jesus? Gager tells us that Paul was an apostle to the Gentiles, not the Jews. His most vehement arguments were directed not against Judaism but against competing apostles in the Jesus movement who demanded that Gentiles be circumcised and conform to Jewish law in order to be saved. Moreover, Paul relied on rhetorical devices that were familiar to his intended audience but opaque to later readers of the letters. As a result, his message has been misunderstood by succeeding generations.

Author Bio


John G. Gager is William H. Danforth Professor of Religion at Princeton University. The author of The Origins of Anti-Semitism and many other books and articles, he lives in Princeton, New Jersey.

Editorial Reviews


"A remarkable experience....Gager's careful rereading of famous texts is both mind-bending and eye-opening. One actually feels one's habits of mind changing as one reads Paul's writings over Gager's shoulder."--Providence Sunday Journal


"The argument makes sense, on both logical and intuitive levels. Only a post-hoc reading of Paul could have led to the conclusion that he was a fervent Christian bent on persecuting the Jews. By giving us instead a Jewish Paul bent on rescuing the Gentiles, Gager shows that 1st century Judaism wasn't an insular sect but a proselytizing faith. This interpretation effectively removes anti-Semitism from the Bible...In forcing a reconsideration of the second-most-pivotal figure in the history of Christianity, Gager has done a great service."--Los Angeles Times


"Relevant beyond the precincts of Christianity and Judaism....Gager makes an important contribution to Jewish-Christian dialogue and offers a richer conception of Paul than the one that has guided many who have struggled with him over the centuries."--Booklist


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